Covid-19: Patients, doctors resort to Apps to beat long queues at hospitals

Monday September 07 2020
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Allan Murungi the ATCL Applications Manager, the makers of Kwikdokita App. PHOTO/PHILIP WAFULA

Since March when the country went into lockdown, questions have been swirling on how best patients and doctors can co-exist or maintain their bond professionally. This becomes more plausible when one remembers that at one point, public transport was grounded until June 4, while private vehicles had to contend with a raft of conditions.
Because of that, developments in technology have changed the way healthcare processes are experienced by both patients and healthcare professionals; and today, more services are available through digital devices, meaning there are many Apps meant to increase quality of life.
Kwikdokita is one of such Apps that have been developed by Aggregator Technology Consults Limited (ATCL), to address the above challenges by enabling convenient access to healthcare services while limiting people’s movements as per efforts to curb Covid-19.
According to Mr Allan Murungi, the ATCL Applications Manager, currently, the healthcare systems are overwhelmed with both emergency and non-emergency health cases. In 2019, the doctor to patient ratio in Uganda was 1:40,000, way higher than the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended 1:1000.
This, he says, creates long queues and increases the waiting time in hospitals while reducing the contact time between doctors and patients.

“The average waiting time in hospitals in Uganda is four hours and during this Covid-19 pandemic, it might even be higher yet patients and healthcare providers must travel long distances or spend hours in traffic jams.
“Therefore, healthcare provision is rushed and prone to inefficiency, morbidity and mortality rates are unnecessarily higher than should be. And given the current Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing is needed to limit exposure and transmission, but this is hard with poor and overcrowded healthcare units,” he said.

Adding: “Besides, doctors continue to complain of low remuneration and if not helped, this may worsen the brain drain in the healthcare industry. Doctors will earn additional incomes, improve healthcare service provision and the overall quality of life for all parties involved.”
According to Mr Murungi, there is a lot of medical fraud in our healthcare systems as many patients are made to pay multiple fees to secure appointments to see certain doctors, especially specialists.
“Kwikdokita also enables health practitioners and professionals to earn income through telemedicine,” Mr Murungi pointed out, adding that the application has features that enable clients make payments for the healthcare services they book for.
“Our long-term goal is to make healthcare easily accessible and affordable to all in need with the concept of uberization of clinical services. Imagine beating the queues, distances, traffic and extra fees involved,” said Dr Sauya Kauma, the ATCL Project Manager.
Ms Prisca Kihumuro, a new user on Kwikdokita, said she was impressed by the prospect of simply ordering for and getting clinical services for her grandmother in the village without traveling long distances and always getting physically involved.

pwafula@ug.nationmedia.com

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